Monday, November 14, 2005

Strong Earthquake Hits Japan Causes Tsunami!

Japan Map & Earthquake Epicenter
Strong Earthquake Shakes Northern Japan

CBS News

     (AP) A strong earthquake shook northern Japan early Tuesday, triggering a small tsunami that struck coastal areas about 200 miles from the epicenter. There were no immediate reports of damage.

     The quake, with a preliminary magnitude 7.2, hit at 6:39 a.m. (4:39 p.m. EST Monday) and was centered off the east coast of Japan's main island of Honshu, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Japan's Meteorological Agency measured the magnitude at 6.9, it said. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy.

     A 12-inch tsunami wave hit the city of Ofunato, and two 4- to 8-inch waves generated by the quake struck two other towns in the area, the agency said. Tsunami waves _ those generated by earthquakes _ are often barely noticeable in the ocean but can rise to great heights once they arrive at shore. There were no immediate reports of damage.

     The quake hit at a depth of about 15 miles and was centered off the coast of Sanriku in northern Japan, 330 miles east of Tokyo, the USGS said.

     Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries because it sits atop four tectonic plates. A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake shook northeastern Japan in August, injuring at least 59 people, triggering landslides, damaging buildings and causing widespread power outages.

     There was no destructive Pacific Ocean-wide tsunami threat following the earthquake, based on historical quake and tsunami data, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.

     However, earthquakes as large as Tuesday's can general local tsunamis capable of causing destruction along coastlines within 60 miles of the epicenter, according to the center.

     The quake struck 215 miles east of the Japanese coastline, according to the USGS.

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